July 2015August 2015 September 2015

08/31 - Arkaba Walk - Day Three

We woke up bright and early on the final day of our hike. After breakfast we continued along the Heysen trail, then turned onto one of the creek beds. It was broad and flat, almost like a road. At first, the creek bed passed through meadows, just a low area among the trees, but after a while the passage narrowed, and the canyon walls were of slate and shale.

Again, we stopped for lunch, a dramatic pause. After our meal, we continued a short ways up the creek, then took a sharp turn into a side canyon. We clambered over rocks and stones and climbed. As we climbed, the canyon widened and soon we emerged on the hillside. We continued to climb. Soon we were following a ridge line with views on either side.

We followed this track for some ways, up and down, but mostly following the ridge. We saw kangaroos bounding, distant mountain ranges and wide open spaces. Then our guide paused. Down before us was Arkaba Station, our goal. We still had a kilometer or two to go, but from here on it was anticlimactic. We descended and lost sight of the station. Then we saw the station ahead, just above us. A brief climb and we were home.

The view from camp

Along the way

Through the woods

Along the creek

Through a fantastic forest

The first canyon walls

Continuing along the creek

As we climbed out

Following the ridge

More views

Arkaba Station now in reach

Keywords: australia

08/30 - Arkaba Walk - Day Two - Part 3

Our guide has a sense of the dramatic. We stopped for lunch in a stream bed canyon. Ahead the canyon narrowed. There was no apparent trail, just flat rocks and water. We ate our lunch, wondering where we would head next, up the sides or back out of the cul de sac.

It turned out neither. We headed through the narrows, following a track from rock to rock, avoiding the water. The canyon turned.

The canyon just past our lunch spot

Canyon walls

The canyon widens.

More of our wandering

More fantastic old trees

Water! Something not easy to find in these parts

Do you remember those mountain ranges we mentioned?

An old Ford truck

The view from the high point near our campground

More of that view

A wonderful trip, and soon, a deep night's sleep

Keywords: australia

08/28 - Arkaba Walk - Day Two - Part 2

Our guide knew the route, so we would often take shortcuts and leave the creek trail only to return some ways downriver. We were between two mountain ranges and had wonderful views of the folded rock outcrops and the green meadows that tantalized the early settlers. The country looks so lush, but the soil is thin and moisture scarse.

The outcrops of the Elder Range

It looks like perfect grazing country.

More outcrops

Dock, a nasty, evil invasive species

The Red Range

Yet another old gum tree

The Red Range again

More scenery - We walked 14-16 kilometers, so there was a lot of scenery.

A river bed and eroded rock

More of the creek

More pretty

Keywords: australia

08/27 - Arkaba Walk - Day Two - Part 1

Our first morning on the trail we were awake before dawn. The mountains were silhouettes, and as we watched the sun rose and turned them into mountains. We had our breakfast, toast and scrambled eggs served on fine china, then we set off on the Heysen trail south between the Red and Elder ranges.

There was a lot of creek bed walking, and there was actually water in the creeks here and there. At points the footing was a bit rough, but overall the track was easy to follow, at least with Paul, our trusty guide, in the lead.

Early morning - the Elder Range

A bit later

Well after sunrise

The view from the breakfast table

Along the trail

A bit of water

From along a creek bed

The rocks are old and in layers with a lot of shale and slate.

Another gum trees

One of the natives

More scenery

Keywords: australia

08/26 - Arkaba - The First Day

If you know us, you know that we are fond of such luxuries as well padded beds, air conditioning and gourmet room service, so it probably seems a bit of a stretch to imagine us camping, but a-camping we did go. We started at the luxurious Arkaba Homestead not far from WIlpena Pound which is a geological formation in the Flinders Range north of Adelaide.

We started in the national park and headed west, crossing from one set of mountains to another. The "pound" itself, short for compound, is flat, but surrounded by mountains. The vegetation, wattles, gum trees and sycamores, was exotic, and the wildlife exotic. We followed the well blazed trails and soon ran into a flock of yearling emus who eyed us curiously, but warily.

Then we climbed the west wall of the pound, old mountains in layers of red, gray and brown rock. We passed through the gap and left the national park heading down to the Hysen Trail, named for a painter who painted the area much as Georgia O'Keefe painted around Santa Fe. It was a steep descent and not all of it followed a well blazed trail, but we soon reached the main track in the valley, but we didn't stay on it long. We took an unmarked side track, not blazed at all, to our campground.

One of the walls of Wilpena Pound

Flat country

Our trail

Some emus

Another wall of the pound

A view from the gap

The Red Range before us as we began our descent

Another view of the Red Range

Red rocks

The spectacular layered mountains


Keywords: australia, georgia

08/26 - Arkaba - Campsite

Here are a few photos of our campsite, just to show you how we were roughing it. You kids nowadays have it soft. We had to hike fourteen kilometers and sleep in a rude shelter, drink fine Australian wines out of crystal wine glasses and make do with delicious steaks with polenta cooked on a wood stove. It was amazingly well organized with hot water heated by the wood stove for our four minute showers, a gourmet meal, an outdoor fire and a comfortable bed. Mind you, after a fourteen kilometer hike, just about any bed is comfortable.



Our first glimpse of our campsite

Our rude accomodations

The shower with a view

Some of the view

The view at sunset

More views

There is nothing like camping out.

Keywords: australia

08/25 - Spit Road to Manly - 2

We left off with some bird watching and views of Sydney. The trail continued, across the cliffs then down into the thicket. We were watching a bush turkey grubbing around by the trail side when our phone rang. It was the concierge confirming our hair appointments.

We walked on through rain forest and suburb and across charming beaches. We could see the Manly ferry across the water. The trail was paved and our final approach was along suburban streets. Exhausted, we settled on the ferry for our quick voyage across the harbor, back to our hotel.

Birds with yellow patches

Another view - look carefully and you can see Sydney skyscrapers

A flower with a wonderful scent - We can hardly wait for the iPhone 12 with smell-o-vision.

Another exotic flower

The headlands

The trail below

Beaches and Manly

The bush turkey

More trail

Another beach

The wild intrudes.

Keywords: australia

08/24 - Spit Road to Manly - 1

Sydney reminds us of Los Angeles. There is a perfectly modern metropolis, but here and there one finds touches of the primeval. Sydney Harbour hosts a modern city with office towers and suburban sprawl, but also a wonderful set of coastal trails.

The Spit Bridge to Manly trail starts below the unpromisingly named Spit Bridge. The trail follows an alley down from the road to the base of the bridge, past trash cans and urban scenery. Then, there is the water with sailboats, park land and the homes of the lucky few who can afford to live on the water.

We followed the trail past tidal flats, up and down sand stone cliffs, across little streams and past waterfalls. We spotted birds and views. Climbing, we had a magnificent view of the office towers of downtown Sydney not far from an array of aboriginal petroglyphs.

Spit Bridge, probably the prettier view

The trail

One of the little views




More of the trail


An easy to find petroglyph of a fish

A view of downtown Sydney

More birds

Keywords: australia

08/23 - Destination Sydney

The flight took over fifteen hours, but we made it. It's great to breathe some real moist air. If you don't recognize the opera house, check out the steel arch bridge. We are in Sydney, and we've been exploring the botanical gardens.

The opera house

A great tree

The city and the garden

More garden

We like the bird on the statue.

Nesting birds - click for a close up

A cockatoo

The harbour bridge

The Sydney winter crowd

Keywords: australia

08/21 - Vancouver

We're off. (Of course, you knew that.) We left Port Angeles and took a short flight north. We've been staying close to the coast, and if you don't recognize the scenery, most of it is as seen from Stanley Park in Vancouver. Tonight we take our big flight. As we said earlier, we're off.

Good bye to Port Angeles

It looks like Holland, but it's en route to YVR.

The ferry to Victoria

That yellow pile in the distance is a Vancouver landmark, the great sulfur heap.

As seen from the coastal trail in Stanley Park

Some big ships in the harbor

One of the beaches

Approaching Siwash Rock, the one that looks like a pineapple

The pineapple close up

Another view

Houseboats in the harbor

Keywords: port angeles

08/16 - In Search of Water

This has been a dry summer, and it shows. Rivers just aren't flowing the way they usually do at this time of year. They're about a month or so off, with the current August flow more like the usual flow in late September. The trails are dry, too, with crumbly dirt and lots of loose pebbles.

In search of water we went to Barnes Creek and were pleased to see that Lake Crescent still has a fair bit of water. We started climbing the Mount Storm King trail to get a better view of the lake, but we didn't get far. The trail was crumbling, and it is a steep trail. If we were slipping on the way up, coming down would be treacherous. We turned around and took a look at Marymere Falls. It was nice to see some flowing water.

At the pebble beach we could see just how low the flow was in Barnes Creek. The river was much narrower and the beach much larger than usual. Then we walked a bit up the Barnes Creek trail and got a few glimpses of the river. We got our water fix, at least for now, but we're hoping for some real rain.

Water in the waterfall

A bright sunny day

Looking up Barnes Creek from the bridge

The forest and bright sunlight

More forest trail

Keywords: barnes creek, lake crescent, marymere falls, storm king, summer, trails

July 2015August 2015 September 2015